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Photo via National Park Service

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking with a friend in Meridian Hill Park yesterday and noticed a small detail in a photo of a globe sculpture at the bottom of the park. I found a photo online that more clearly shows the globe sculpture.

However, that sculpture is no longer there, instead replaced buy a big spherical bush. Upon further investigation, it appears the pedestal is still there, in the center of the bush, but there is no sculpture.

In searching for other photos of it, I found a blog of a amateur history sleuth who has tried to track it down. The sphere was the “Armillary Sphere” and is a bit of a mystery. Apparently it was damaged in the 1960s and removed for repairs, but it’s whereabouts is unknown to the Smithsonian or National Park Service (rather amazing for a 16 foot sculpture).

Anyway, I’m not sure if there is much more than can be found out about this mystery, but I’d be fascinated if anyone knew more about it. What happened to it? Was it relocated? Stolen? Damaged?”

Meridian Hill Park 10-10-14 2

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801 K Street, NW Photo by PoPville flickr user JoshBassett|PHOTOGRAPHY

From a press release:

“In response to today’s decision by Events DC and the International Spy Museum to cancel their plans for a relocation of the Spy Museum to Mt. Vernon Square, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. (HSW) wishes to clarify that this will in no way effect the continuation of the Society’s current programming and public use of the Carnegie Library. The Society looks forward to working with its main partner, Events DC, with our neighbors (old and new), and with the growing portfolio of community partners to create a new vision for Mt Vernon Square. Regardless of what the vision may include, the Society reaffirms to the local community that the Carnegie Library will continue to serve as home to its exhibit galleries, Kiplinger Research Library, historic collections, and offices well into the future.

The Historical Society has 85 years remaining on our lease at the Carnegie Library,” said Julie Koczela, Chair of the Society’s Board of Trustees. “This building has a magnificent history that fits perfectly with our mission and provides the Society with a central base to operate our library as we to continue to develop exhibits and programs that are free and open to the public. We intend to remain at the Carnegie Library as Events DC explores a restoration strategy for this beloved historical building.” (more…)

From the Library of Congress:

“We hustled the reel up to the film lab where it was prepped and cleaned for Datacine Operator Pat Kennedy to make the digital transfer; we’re photochemically preserving it on safety film stock as well. After the Senators story was excerpted and speed-corrected, I sent it pianist/Nats fan Andrew Simpson for musical scoring. Perhaps more footage will eventually turn up, but for now we’re thrilled to present the 1924 World Series champion Washington Senators in hopes that what’s past truly is prologue.

LET’S GO NATS!”

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

Mark Twain is said to have called it the ugliest building in America, a sentiment later echoed by President Harry S Truman, who thought it the country’s “greatest monstrosity.” Now, to tear down this monstrosity would be unthinkable. Declared a national historic landmark in 1971, the massive block-long Eisenhower Executive Office Building, as it is now called, is widely cherished as a stunningly exuberant relic from a bygone era that could never be replicated. Whatever has been thought of it across the years, the building achieves architecture’s highest calling, impressing its unique identity relentlessly upon all who witness it and demanding a response.

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(Author’s collection.)

As long as the federal government has been in Washington, cabinet department office buildings have stood on this site and the corresponding space on the other side of the President’s House. George Washington wanted them here, and under his direction, architect George Hadfield (1763-1826), designed the first two distinguished, federal-style buildings, which were ready for early bureaucrats to occupy when the government moved to Washington in 1800. After the British burned the buildings in 1814, they were reconstructed, and two more matching buildings were added, one on either side, to form a neat and symmetrical Executive Branch campus surrounding the President’s House. On the east side, along 15th Street, stood the State Department to the north and the Treasury Department to the south. To the west, along 17th Street, were the Navy and War Departments. (more…)

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Photo ‘Being There: Then (1979) & Now, 14th St & Rhode Island NW’ by PoPville flickr user number7cloud

“Still shot from the movie “Being There” filmed in 1979. Until fairly recently, Caribou Coffee was on this corner. 14th St, you’ve come a long way!”

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Photo ‘Then & Now: after the 1968 riots 7th St NW’ by PoPville flickr user number7cloud

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Photo ‘Being There: Then (1979) & Now, M St NW’ by PoPville flickr user number7cloud

“A still shot from the movie “Being There” filmed in 1979″

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Photo of ’14th and U St, NW 1988′ by Michael Horsley

“Dear PoPville,

I found these sweet photos of DC from the 1980’s and 1990’s, by a photographer Michael Horsley.

On PoPville, we tend to focus on the here and now and how much things have changed since 2000, but to me it’s amazing how far things have come since the 80’s. The people that were here way back then are really the ones that laid the groundwork for the wonderful city we have today.”

Ed. Note: We’ve been admiring this photo set since 2010. Always amazing/awesome to revisit them year after year.

mlk_library_dc
901 G Street, NW

From DCPL:

“The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro”

Tuesday, August 26, at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

his talk should be fascinating to anyone interested in Metro, or in the city itself, or more broadly, in how public transit decisions are made. Besides all that, I’m expecting it to be very entertaining, because the book certainly is.

My first thought on looking into Professor Schwag’s book was that it was very densely packed with information (which it is) and might not be a fun read–but it is also that! I’ve found so many wonderful stories in it, that I think it’s safe to say that you will learn a lot, and also are likely to find something that will surprise you, or make you laugh out loud, no matter where you open the book.

An example is this comparison on page 142 of building Metro to the building of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, through permafrost, mountains, and tundra:

“Metro’s builders faced a challenge equal and opposite to that of their pipeline counterparts….As workers in Alaska built 800 miles of pipeline through wilderness all but uninhabited by humans, workers in Washington took up the challenge of pushing 100 miles of rapid transit through a long-settled region densely populated by lawyers.”

Actually, though I’m still chuckling over that line, other parts of The Great Society Subway have already made me realize we all owe a great debt to those lawyers and other activists, for helping us get Metro instead of a spaghetti bowl of highways in DC, and for pushing needed improvements to Metro, like elevators to serve people with mobility problems. (One Metro official seriously proposed training wheelchair riders to use the escalators, balancing on two wheels!)

The more I read, the more I came to realize that no one who wanted to truly understand Washington DC as it is today could do so without reading this book.

The author, Zachary M. Schrag, has a gift for imparting knowledge packaged in details that make the story come alive; I’m looking forward to his talk!”

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1538 9th Street, NW in 2010

From a press release:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today she expects the historic Carter G. Woodson Home to be completed by August 2015 with federal funds she requested, and that a National Park Service (NPS) partnership with a non-profit organization (NPO) will complete the two adjoining homes. This is the first-ever National Park Service (NPS) historic site to be completed through a private-public partnership. She expects a local NPO familiar with the Shaw neighborhood, where the house is located and skilled at raising funds, will serve as a vehicle for bringing tax-exempt funds forward. Because Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s work was fundamental to the creation of Black history as a serious academic discipline, work that was responsible for the annual designation of Black History Month, Norton believes that the approximately $9.5 million necessary to complete the entire project is achievable. Once the project is completed, the main home, where Woodson lived, and the adjacent homes, which will be used to facilitate tourism, will together be considered the “Carter G. Woodson National Historic Site.” (more…)

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Photo by PoPville flickr user ianseanlivingston

From an email:

“A. Philip Randolph was a civil rights leaders, labor organizer, and President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters – bargaining for better wages and improved working conditions. Honoring Mr. Randolph will continue the trend of renaming major national transportation facilities to recognize great American Leaders. The A. Philip Randolph Union Station will provide an opportunity to educate all youth – especially African-American youth – on his contributions. A. Philip Randolph has several accolades, included being an inductee in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Labor Hall of Honor.

Personally, I am a native Washingtonian who grew up in the 1960′s and 1970′s, attended the 1963 March on Washington, witnessed the 1968 riots, and truly participated and witnessed the “re-building” of Washington, D.C. I believe renaming Union Station to honor A. Philip Randolph is a moral, social, and historical imperative.

If you support this effort, please click on the link and sign our petition. And please pass this along to your friends and family.”